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Helical Piles for Foundations
By Mike Holmes
Thursday, August 3rd, 2023 @ 3:49pm
Why You Should Consider Helical Piles
I’ve been using helical piles (also known as helical piers) for years. You may have seen them on my shows when we install decks or additions. They are an excellent alternative to concrete footings for many projects.
If the projects meet the proper specifications and certified engineering approval, helical piles can save money and time. This is an advantage for both the contractor and the homeowner. If you have a sagging foundation, I recommend looking into helical piles as a permanent stability solution.
Here’s a guide on helical piles and when and why you should use them.
What Are Helical Piles?
Helical screw piles are similar to sonotubes (cardboard tubes in which concrete is poured to create solid cylindrical pillars).
These piles are screwed into the ground, using specialized equipment, until a specific torque and depth meet the supported structure’s bearing load specifications. The shafts come in various sizes to fit the needs of a supported structure and to accommodate specific soil conditions.
Uses for Helical Piles
Helical piles can be used to build deck foundations, sheds, stairs, porches and additions. They help on projects where conventional foundation methods would be difficult.
Helical piles from Techno Metal Post provide a simpler and more secure solution to build or refurbish a deck or porch. No more messy concrete pouring and unnecessary interruptions to your home and backyard. With a helical pile, you can begin construction immediately, saving both time and money. Love that. It also ensures a smooth and efficient construction process.
Advantages of Helical Piles
- NO EXCAVATION: The biggest advantage for me is that helical piers do not require excavation.
- TIME SAVINGS: There is no waiting once the pile is in the ground. This is why Techno Metal helical piles make complete sense for our projects with our aggressive deadlines. Unlike a concrete foundation, you don’t need to wait for curing.
- LOWER COST: They are cheaper than concrete foundations. This keeps your overall project costs down.
- CAN BE USED WITH AN EXISTING STRUCTURE: Piles are initially screwed into the ground at an angle under the existing structure and are then righted. The minimum height required must be 24”.
Did You Know?
The use of helical piles will save you time and money, since they do not require any excavation, curing time (concrete curing) or site repairs.
Techno Metal Posts – My Recommendation
Techno Metal Posts adds a green sleeve for added protection against ground movement. During freeze/thaw cycles or in the presence of clay, the sleeve slides along the shaft of the pile, following any possible ground movements, ensuring the stability of the structure all year long, which I think is a fantastic idea.
Techno Metal Posts in My House
I finally got around to renovating my own house recently. My plan was to open up the main floor living space and kitchen. When we started the demo, we found out that the floor was uneven. We worked with an engineer to incorporate helical piles to take the weight off my second floor.
We opened two areas on the floor and drilled piles into the ground for added support. The small equipment makes it easy and fast. We put in three steel posts right from the beam down to the piles. The Techno Metal helical piles were screwed into the earth 14 feet (4 meters), down, and welded, taking the weight completely off the second floor, and the roof, allowing me to level my first floor and create the open concept.
Before You Install Helical Piles
A licensed engineer should authorize all blueprints. I also recommend only working with certified installers and manufacturers. The company I use is Techno Metal Posts, and they have dealers all across North America and Europe. Check with your local building office if a pier or torque reading test is required. If all these boxes are checked, using helical screw piles could be a great addition to your next home renovation project.
As a homeowner, you are also responsible for contacting your underground services provider and for providing written proof that it has been done.
Are helical piles cheaper than concrete?
Yes, generally speaking. They save time, cut down on labour costs, produce minimal site disruption, and require less maintenance.
Solid foundations are the basis of any successful building project. Helical piles have clearly emerged as a game changer, providing stability, longevity, and cost-efficiency. Remember that whether you’re building a deck, a house or an entire structure, investing in the correct foundation means investing in your project’s future. So, when it comes to Building It Right, helical piles are a great solution that I’d trust any day.